The meaning which underlies both applications is that of representative or delegate. Du Cange (Gloss, s.v. Syndicus), after defining the word as defensor, fair onus, advocatus, proceeds "Syndici maxime appellantur Actores universitatum, collegiorum, societatum et aliorum corporum, per quos, tanquam in republica quod communiter agi fierive oportet, agitur et fit," and gives several examples from the 13th century of the use of the term. The most familiar use of "syndic" in the first sense is that of the Italian sindico, who is the head of the administration of a commune, answering to a "mayor"; he is a government official but is elected by the communal council from their own members by secret ballot.
Nearly all companies, guilds, and the University of Paris had representative bodies the members of which were termed syndici. Similarly in England, the Regent House of the University of Cambridge, which is the legislative body, delegates certain functions to special committees of its members, appointed from time to time by Grace (a proposal offered to the Regent House and confirmed by it); these committees are termed "syndicates" and are permanent or occasional, and the members are styled "the syndics" of the particular committee or of the institution which they administer; thus there are the syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, of the Cambridge University Press, of local examinations, etc.